Over the past few years, "self-care" has become a buzzword. Scroll through your preferred social media app using #selfcare, and you'll see MILLIONS of posts. Of course, like any trend, you will find different ways that people practice self-care, but just like any other post or pin, there are plenty of ideas, but engaging in self-care is easily ignored on many to-do lists.
Self-care is imperative but often overlooked, especially in our fast-paced world. Taking time to focus on yourself can help increase feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction with your life, leading to a more positive outlook on the challenges that come with everyday life. Self-care isn't about indulgence – it's about taking the steps necessary to ensure that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally well cared for to be productive within all facets of your life.
Oxford Languages Dictionary defines self-care as "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's health"; "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress."
What do you need to preserve your health? What does it look like for you to take 'an active role' in protecting your well-being?
Some factors contributing to poor self-care are burnout and compassion fatigue. Burnout is quickly becoming one of the main reasons that individuals seek therapy. Clients experiencing burnout endorse feeling overwhelmed, stressed, tired most of the time, irritable, and easily dysregulated emotionally. Burnout is often seen in environments with high stress, long days, or work hours, or when individuals experience sleep disturbances or depression and anxiety. Burnout can happen to anyone. Compassion fatigue results from caring for others so much that you care for yourself. We commonly see this with new parents or individuals caring for their elderly parents. During COVID-19, we've witnessed burnout rates at an all-time high due to lockdowns, a persistent health crisis, schooling at home, and constant pivoting due to quarantines or testing positive.
Self-care allows you to rest and rejuvenate to manage your stress and avoid burnout. Here are five ways that you can practice self-care.
Stay hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 oz glasses of water daily. Keep a water bottle with you to make it easy to remember to drink throughout the day. In addition, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can assist with emotional regulation and stress reduction.
Take a walk for 15-20 minutes. Daily walks provide physical exercise and give you a mental and physical break during the day. However, getting up and walking for just five minutes every hour or so can give you energy and make you more productive.
Get Some Sleep
Get at least 8 hours of sleep at night. Starting the day feeling rested can lead to lower stress levels and overall good brain health.
Try something new
Try something new to promote confidence and self-esteem. Research shows that engaging in new experiences creates a sense of accomplishment and gives us positive vibes about ourselves. Set a goal to try one unique experience, food, etc., a month!
Practice self-care regularly
We tend to focus on self-care when our energy is depleted, but self-care provides more benefits when it is a routine. Put a weekly reminder in your calendar to do something that you enjoy. The more you incorporate self-care into your daily life, the better you can manage your well-being.
Yes, we all know that we should take care of ourselves. We've been told since we were young that self-care is essential. But, for some reason, it's often one of the first things to go when our lives get busy. But doing even just a few of these things regularly can make a big difference in how you feel daily. If you're ready to commit to yourself and start feeling better, schedule an appointment with Kristen today. She'll help you figure out a plan that works for you and your lifestyle. Call, email or schedule online with Kristen. She has current openings at Shoreside Therapies Whitefish Bay locations.
Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?
Kristen Holmes, MS, LPC
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4530 N Oakland Ave
Whitefish Bay, WI 53211